In December, a few great thinkers will win the Nobel Prize. They’ll receive money, fame, and prestige. But what they really win is authority (if a Nobel Prize winner says something, you’re gonna listen, right?) Maybe you weren’t nominated for the prize (me neither, a bit disappointed) but you can win enough authority to make your prospects take you seriously. Here’s how . . .
People are naturally skeptical, especially when they do business with you for the first time. What if I embarrass myself with a bad business decision? What if my friends see my mistake? What if I go broke?
But if you’re known as an authority in your field, skepticism goes way down.
Building authority is simple. Just make yourself well-known as an expert in your specialty, at least within your sphere of influence. I said it was simple, I didn’t promise it would be easy. But time spent building authority is worth the effort.
Here’s how to get started:
1. Build a community
It can be a cause or an idea; a brand or a product; or it can be a leader.
You, for instance!
And how do you get people to rally around you? Well, you need some good ideas, of course. But you already have that, gained by learning your business. Mostly you need to show up and talk about those ideas.
Nor do the ideas need to be complex. Simple works better. In fact, one powerful technique is to reduce complex ideas to simple terms, explained in everyday language.
Webinars are a convenient and easy way to gather people and talk about ideas.
2. Curate information
Whether your specialty is heart surgery or shoe retailing, there’s no shortage of information. The Web is filled with a ton of it. But much of it is overly technical, badly explained, or just plain wrong.
You can provide a great service for your prospects simply by filtering the mountain of junk to find nuggets of gold.
And how do you deliver those gold nuggets? Invite them to a webinar. As you filter, interpret, and share information, your authority expands.
And don’t forget to record it! That way, you can share it with those who missed it AND use it as a prospecting tool.
3. Answer questions
In every field, there are a lot of misconceptions, so people ask for advice from friends, neighbors, maybe even their local bartender. What they really need is a trustworthy person who knows his or her stuff.
With webinars, you can put your face in the place and provide authoritative answers to questions. And as people begin to trust your answers, they develop more trust in your overall authority as a subject matter expert (SME) and business person.
4. Borrow authority
What if you’re not yet a seasoned pro? With your knowledge of your field, you probably know who the experts are. So use your networking skills to cultivate relationships with them. Then it’s very natural to invite them to be a guest on your webinar.
You’ll find that they’re flattered (wouldn’t you be?) and often will graciously accept. After all, they probably cultivated their own reputation by speaking to groups. So if you offer them your audience, they’ll be grateful.
And a funny thing happens when you host an expert. Some of their magic rubs off on you. You become brilliant by association. By showcasing that expert, you’re expanding your authority.
Pretty good deal for both of you.
There is nothing new under the sun
These techniques weren’t invented in the era of the Internet. For centuries, those who want credibility have always gathered information for their audience, answered questions, associated with other experts, and built a community of followers.
Online tools such as ClickMeeting have made this far less expensive than travelling from place to place to tell your story (and far easier than winning a Nobel Prize).
Face it, the main barrier-to-entry simply may be . . . reluctance.
So get ready. Break out of your shell. Grab all the authority you want. Then use it to promote your business. Your prospects will thank you. They’ll see you in your proper light as a person with deep expertise and topnotch leadership skills.
Besides – webinars are fun!
OK, what’s one step you could take this week to start building your authority? Let us know in the comments below.